A Fantastic Partner That Truly Understood My Application
May 16, 2023Read More
September 8, 2022
28 Sep 2022
|28 Sep 2022|
5 Apr 2023
Columbia is unusual in that it separates its goals essay from its Why Our School? Essay. That means you have 500 words potentially to describe your goals. However, we don’t recommend that. Do be as concrete/specific as possible about your post MBA goals (job titles, org names, short-term Plan A and Plan B, long-term goal). State these goals at the beginning of the essay – up to half of the word count can focus on a description of your goals: long- and short-term, Plan A and Plan B (Columbia loves to hear about backup plans). But then use the rest of the essay to provide the ‘backstory’ — your personal account of where these goals come from. If possible, also devote space to brief highlights (in other words, share accomplishments or evidence of fast-track – none of Columbia’s remaining essays really ask you to share accomplishments).
This is a classic Why Our School? essay, but much more directive in its guidance: it requires you to reflect on ‘why CBS’ from three angles: academic resources, cultural resources, and professional resources. Many applicants will divide their essay into three equal sections addressing traditional academic opportunities at Columbia, Columbia’s culture (which here can encompass everything from student clubs/activities and the school’s values, e.g., diversity and teamwork to perhaps even NYC as a melting-pot cultural capital, especially insofar as Columbia resources link to that aspect of NYC), and Columbia’s resources for your career.
Last year Columbia introduced the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL). By referencing PPIL Columbia is signaling its institutional interest in DE&I, which is most relevant to the second cultural section of your essay. According to CBS the PPIL is a “…co-curricular program designed to ensure that every CBS student develops the skills to become an ethical and inclusive leader. Through PPIL, students attend programming focused on five essential diversity, equity, and inclusion skills: Creating an Inclusive Environment, Mitigating Bias, Communicating Across Identities, Addressing Systemic Inequity, and Managing Difficult Conversations.” We recommend that you talk briefly about your own D&I involvements (keeping in mind that diversity is a very broad term encompassing “work and life experiences, education, skills, interests, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, where/how you grew up, and/or other factors” — to use language that Stanford GSB — another D&I focused school — uses). Name/discuss the diversity resources and opportunities at Columbia that resonate with you most and propose specific ways in which you will get involved in or enhance those resources (e.g., a club linked to a passion of yours for which you will propose some new approach or activity).
When writing the final ‘professional’ section of this essay, keep in mind that in the past Columbia has framed the Why Us? question in terms of NYC being the ‘very center of business’ and has steered applicants toward discussing its experiential and NYC-connected resources such as Immersion Seminars, master classes, practitioner faculty, etc. This year’s question, for example, references the Executives-in-Residence program. So maybe lean the essay toward the practical, hands-on side of Columbia resources —summer and in-term internships (which organizations will you pursue?), adjunct or practitioner faculty or visiting speakers that link with your goals, and any other career-related interfaces between Columbia and NYC as a career Mecca.